Gloucester does a lot to honor its veterans, which is a reflection of the long military history of the township and wider NJ. This was seen in early December, when Patch reported an additional wreath-laying ceremony, outside of the normal memorial schedule. While Gloucester does right by its veterans, it is also the case that, at state level and nationally, those veterans now enjoying civilian life are not necessarily getting a fair deal. There have been clear efforts from around the state to address this, but there’s always a little more that each town and community can do to help veterans feel welcome.
An increasing number of veterans are returning from active duty with disabilities. This is part and parcel of the occupation, unfortunately, and can be both physical and mental in nature. There is a good bit of support built into the veteran’s system already. The VA disability calculator enables veterans to calculate their compensation, which enables them to maintain their independence and quality of life despite their condition; also, state-wide, more initiatives are helping to shore up that support further. Of particular interest is the bill signed into law in 2022 by Governor Murphy, as highlighted by NJ 101.5. This provides additional money to organizations providing veteran care, such as the Gloucester County Veterans Initiative. This means that a little extra can be provided to veterans in the community and area, which is great news for when it comes to doing that little bit extra.
Another growing problem among veterans is mental health. The full range of conditions that can have an impact on mental wellbeing are now being considered, rather than simply PTSD and related problems. It’s only just starting to become apparent just how much of an impact mental health is having on veterans, and, according to NJ Insider, a new committee in the senate will review these issues with a view of creating a brighter future. In Gloucester, schemes like the NJ211 Vet-2-Vet service are providing essential care, but the wider community can always help more by taking a calm and understanding view of veteran health issues.
Getting to work
The labor market is a tight one at the minute, with plenty of job openings yet not that many new hires. At the same time, rates of pay are not increasing by a huge amount, and there’s an overall constriction. Veterans are provided with financial support to set up businesses and are often perceived as better workers, and so are, to a degree, shielded from the wider labor market problems. Furthermore, Volunteer Match and other organizations in the Gloucester area help to get veterans into work - the challenge is ensuring that opportunities are provided despite tough economic conditions.
Tackling these issues prevent veterans from experiencing worsening health problems, and prevent other pressing issues - such as rising homelessness. Gloucester does a lot for its veterans, but keeping them in mind will ensure that reputation is retained.